Donald Clark wall-hanging,
made in Sydney, Australia 1957
Following on from the Rodriguez wall-hanging- here is another seminal Australian artist : Donald Clark.
This wall-hanging is also a hand-printed image on linen, and hung with Australian timber- and Donald Clark was also well known for his linen tea towels with Australian themes in the 50s and 60s.
Donald Clark was really two brothers, Robert and Bruce Clark who started production of screen-printed linen items in 1952 in Sydney. The company is still in production, now managed by Liz Clark [Robert’s daughter] and it’s mostly involved with re-issuing original designs.
The wall-hanging is a rare example of Donald Clark’s interest in retail- depicting Paddington ‘terrace’ shops Pastry, Fish and Green Grocer – each with its respective merchant. This hanging is in ‘blue’ colourway – the design was also produced in green and purple. The hanging is signed.
The wall-hanging is in excellent condition and is for sale: $AUD55
made in Melbourne, Australia 1964
This wall-hanging; a hand-printed image on linen, and hung with Australian timber, was produced by John Rodriguez – famous in Australia for his Australiana tea towels. In the 50s and 60s everyone came back from holiday with Rodriguez souvenir tea towels for friends and family.
John Rodriguez [1928-2000] studied art and design at RMIT and started a company printing on linens in 1952. By the 60s he was producing screen-printed wall hangings. His work is now shown at Museum Victoria, and is in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum and Museum of Canberra.
The company John started is still in production, managed by second generation Rodriguezes; some of John’s original designs are still made, albeit using contemporary printing processes.
The plant image on the hanging depicts a lotus – very stylised as was the custom in the 60s. The brown and orange colourings are also typical of the 60s. The hanging is signed in Rodriguez’s usual manner.
The lotus wall-hanging is in excellent condition and is for sale: $AUD55
made from vintage Australian linen
My partner recently found a batch of vintage Australian tea towels, all Irish linen and all unused. I love the graphic qualities of the images- and the strong colours – and decided to make square cushion covers from them.
The backs of the cushions are either upcycled linen or new linen, in plain colours to suit the images. I salvaged the upcycled linen from 50s and 60s tablecloths- and finished the openings with vintage bindings. It was nice to be able to use some of my vintage sewing stash…so it can be considered less a collection and more a necessity!
The cushions are sized to take a 400 x 400mm insert [15.7 x 15.7 inches.] They are fully washable and would make a great gift- especially if the state or flora & fauna featured has a particular association for someone. I have thirty cushions made- and they can be grouped in 2s or 4s- email me if you’d like to peruse the ‘collection’.
Readers! For you delectation and delight I present to you – a hand-made sewing caddy. As you can see in the images- the caddy is on casters and opens up to reveal a little cupboard [with bakelite handle]; cotton reel spool holders and various drawers for fabric and notions and such. What a beauty!
The real appeal of the caddy is the bow-fronted drawers, which are staggered to allow them to slot into one another when the caddy closes. A fantastic design. The timber cabinet has expressed mortice and tenon joints, attesting to its craftsmanship.
The casters are new- and quite spoil the rustic, hand-made appeal of the caddy- but they can easily be exchanged for some rough old industrial casters. The little cupboard door is a little wonky with age, but still closes and its hinges, etc are all original and working. I’m not sure of the timber, it’s an Australian fruit wood – but not sure which one. The caddy closes with a steel hinged latch, slightly rusted in suitable aged style.
The caddy could be used for all sorts of storage: when I first bought it I had visions of using it to style my collection; I have a ‘timber’ theme to all my images and I thought this would make a handsome backdrop. Alas, I haven’t used it thus- and now it is for sale.
Modern Teaching Map No 112
Chas H. Scally & Co. 8th Ed, c.1950s
A lovely old map from a primary school in the Blue Mountains, this map shows New South Wales and the Snowy Mountains Scheme in the 1950s.
The Snowy Mountains Scheme map [commenced in 1949- a revolutionary hydro-electric project] indicates roads, tunnels and power stations on the legend. Meanwhile, NSW is described by railways, highways, shipping routes, towns connected by air with Sydney & Melbourne, irrigation areas and irrigation districts. Yep, in the 50s irrigation was important stuff.
The map is in great condition: the colours and finish of the map are superb. I have seen similar maps- albeit of later editions in antique shops – for a WHOLE lot of money; but this map needs to be seem and displayed so I have priced it to sell.
Grizelle spice containers, made in Japan Ideal placemats & napkins, made in Japan Luminarc wine glasses, made in France
I am drawn to green- and especially 60s greens- and so collect them where I find them. This is a selection- a tableau if you will- of some recent finds.
The spice containers- Ginger and Allspice- are part of a set of five, and the cork lids are somewhat worse for wear. However that funky flower and font totally got me, and the containers could be upcycled to hold other kitchen stuffs.
The Ideal napkins, placemats and cheese knife are ‘as new’- never been out of their packaging. How Ideal. Team them with those funky wine glasses- Luminarc, from France. All 60s goodness!
WonderArt ‘Spring’ tapestry
made in Illinois, USA c1970
A worked bell pull tapestry in 100% wool; this piece comes with its original instructions from Needlecraft Corp of America. The pattern is ‘Spring’. [#6701 NIP; 5x 34”]
I love all things botanical; and all things crafted. This bell pull is gorgeous. Sure- who uses bell pulls anymore? Bell pulls were completely obsolete in the 70s when this was made. This is less a bell pull and more a lovely abstract rendition of spring flowers. [But I like that the photo of the completed bell pull on the instruction page does actually show a bell! Who are they kidding? Who will come when that thing is actually pulled?]
In keeping with my friend’s idea of filling a whole wall with ‘pixel art’ – this would be a fantastic addition. Ready to frame and hang, this piece is for sale: $AUD55- after all, it is WonderArt!
baxtergrafils wool tapestries
made in Australia 1983
My son [Gen Y] likens cross stitch to ‘pixel art’ and I can see his point. He is also my photographer- so as we style my collection for images to post to the blog he lets me know what he likes and absolutely DOESN’T like.
He is the child of two designers- so naturally has a firm opinion on my collection. Which I applaud and learn from; I love his interpretation of things made before he was born. I unfortunately lived through the 70s and 80s in Australia- the time that design forgot – and so sometimes have a less rosy view.
But- I love these tapestries because they are stylized botanical specimens, crafted in Australian wool on hand-printed gauze; Oscar likes them because they are strong graphic representations of pixel art.
And I love them for another reason: I have a friend who intends to fill an entire wall of her house with found and reclaimed tapestries; I think these should be included.
The strelitzia [Streliztia reginae] and bell fruited mallee [Eucalyptus preissiana] completed tapestries are for sale: $AUD95
From my friend Maisie’s collection again; these are original 50s and 60s pennants collected by her globe-trotting parents. In the 50s, Australian travel to a European or North American city was considered an unbelievable luxury – so surely visiting ten cities would have been viewed as excessive; in monetary terms as well as in time.
Travelling in the 50s meant ocean liner- it took six weeks to land in London. By the 60s with the advent of aeroplanes the trip was shortened to three days, with stop overs while the plane refueled. Australians would be required to land in London before proceeding to other capitals- as passport control was centred there.
So Maisie’s parents collected a pennant from every city they visited- souvenirware that could be displayed on a wall. There is other memorabilia from these trips that Maisie has kept- but the pennants with their wonderful graphics and 50s and 60s fonts look so fantastic massed together that she has decided to let them go.
Madrid, Firenze, Capri; and Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, New York City, Philippines, Paris and the Trade Fair. A potted travel history for sale: $AUD120
Kangaroo bookends Aboriginal motif placemats; made in Australia c.1940s
These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.
The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, Austria. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc. don’t obscure the motif.
My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste they are now retro enough to enjoyed in an ironic, post-modernist way.